Bob Melvin on matchup with Mets: “We may intentionally walk Bartolo a couple of times . . .”

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A’s manager Bob Melvin was asked about Oakland facing former teammate Bartolo Colon tomorrow. After noting that he saw Colon hit a double last week, he revealed his game plan:

“I’m looking forward to watching him hit, not necessarily looking forward to facing him,” Melvin said. “I did [see his double recently]. I’ve seen some of his hacks here before, too.

“We may walk Bartolo intentionally a couple of times just to get him on the basepaths, see him run around a little bit.”

Oh please, oh please, oh please. I’d pay good money to see this. Especially if Terry Collins gives Colon the green light to swipe second.

In other news, given the Mets’ offense, it may be the best game plan for legitimate reasons as well as comedic ones.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉